Veteran producer Karl Demer of Atomic K Records & Productions, a full service Audio/Video/Photography production company based in Minneapolis, MN, produced the original version of “Clouds” performed by Zach Sobiech.
“A year ago I was asked to produce a song for a teenager name Zach Sobiech who had terminal cancer and wrote a song to say goodbye to his family and girlfriend,” explains Demer. “A video was made of his experience recording the song. This video went viral on the internet; the song went to #1 on iTunes and Billboard and to this day, has raised nearly 1 million dollars for Children's cancer research specifically to find a cure for the type of cancer that took his life.”
Being the producer of the original version of “Clouds,” Demer was asked by Dan Seeman, KS95 general manager and close friend of Zach Sobiech, to produce a recorded audio track and direct the choir for the 1 year anniversary event.
The hope for the event was to have 1000 singers, though that goal was quickly reached and a cap put on registration for participation knowing that many more would be there as spectators. “They wanted to ask several local choirs to sing the song at the Mall of America rotunda during their annual KS95 for Kids Radiothon sponsoring the Children's cancer research fund,” says Demer. “They were hoping to get up to 1000 singers. Day 7 of promotion for the event, we had to stop registering singers at 3600 due to the capacity of the venue! The Mall of America estimates the number in attendance singing at 5000 people.”
Demer now had the task of figuring out how best to record a choir of 5000 in a less than ideal location. “I was doing pre-production research as to how I should go about recording 5000 singers on 4 levels in a full circle with reflective surfaces everywhere,” says Demer. “Earthworks mics kept coming up in my searches for realistic symphonic recordings from a stereo pair, so I reached out to Earthworks through their website and told them of my challenge. Later the next day, to my surprise, Craig Breckenridge responded with a very detailed description of how he suggested I go about placing mics for the recording. He apologized for the delay in response but wanted to get the input from his whole team at Earthworks! I was blown away by such personal service despite never meeting Craig.”
For the event, Demer ran the matched pair of QTC40s through Midas preamps and recorded directly off the preamps to his Macbook Pro running Cubase.
Though familiar with Earthworks High Definition Microphones™, this was the first time Demer had an opportunity to use them. He explains his experience using the QTC40s to record the 5000-person choir: “The QTC40s responded with superior clarity and frequency response. Basically what I heard with my headphones off is what I heard with my headphones on while soloing the QTC40s. The benefit of this stereo pair was that they gave me a beautiful true stereo image of 360 degrees on the x-axis and nearly 180 on the y-axis.” You can see and hear this impressive event on YouTube: